September 26, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 14 C 00178 -
Robert M. Dow, Jr., Judge.
Bauer, Manion, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.
Stegall applied and interviewed for a service representative
position with the Social Security Administration
("SSA") in 2010. Stegall claims she received an
offer of employment at the end of her interview. Stegall
subsequently disclosed her physical and mental disabilities,
which she claims prompted the SSA to rescind the employment
offer. The SSA denied offering Stegall a position, stating it
never extends offers of employment during interviews.
Instead, the SSA deemed Stegall not motivated for public
service due to her answers in the interview. The SSA
preferred two applicants over Stegall-one who had accepted
another position and one with a disability who accepted the
filed an employment discrimination claim with the SSA,
claiming discrimination based on race and her mental and
physical disabilities. The SSA denied Stegall's claim and
she appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Stegall then filed a discrimination claim in the district
court. Prior to trial, Stegall dismissed her race and mental
disability discrimination claims. At trial, the jury found
that Stegall had a disability, that the SSA regarded her as
having a disability, and that the SSA failed to hire Stegall.
However, the jury found that even without her physical
disability, Stegall would not have been hired.
appeals, claiming the jury verdict went against the manifest
weight of the evidence and that the court abused its
discretion in allowing certain evidence to be admitted. We
conclude that the district court did not commit reversible
errors and affirm.
uphold civil jury verdicts when supported by a reasonable
basis in the record. Pickett v. Sheridan Health Care
Ctr., 610 F.3d 434, 440 (7th Cir. 2010). A party must
move for judgment as a matter of law under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 50(a) and renew the motion under Rule 50(b)
after the jury's verdict if the party wishes to preserve
a sufficiency of the evidence challenge to a civil verdict.
Empress Casino Joliet Corp. v. Balmoral Racing Club,
Inc., 831 F.3d 815, 823, (7th Cir. 2016). The court may
grant a new trial if a timely Rule 59 motion is filed and the
court deems the motion sufficient. Fed.R.Evid. 59. Failure to
file a post-verdict motion constitutes a waiver of
sufficiency of the evidence challenges. Sanders v. Ill.
Dep't of Cent. Mgmt. Servs., 530 Fed.Appx. 593, 595
(7th Cir. 2013).
requests a new trial, claiming the jury verdict was against
the manifest weight of the evidence. In order to preserve
this argument on appeal, Stegall needed to move for judgment
as a matter of law and renew that motion after the jury's
verdict. Stegall failed to file any motions and therefore
waived any sufficiency of the evidence challenges.
also appeals the denial of two in limine motions. We
review in limine motions under an abuse of
discretion standard. Carmody v. Bd. of Trs. of the Univ.
of Ill. 893 F.3d 397, 407 (7th Cir. 2018). Unless
required by justice, a jury verdict will not be set aside,
vacated, modified, or otherwise disturbed based on an error
in admitting or excluding evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 61. Stegall
claims the district court abused its discretion in admitting
irrelevant evidence. The Federal Rules of Evidence lay out
the pertinent relevancy analysis as "any tendency to
make a fact more or less probable than it would be without
the evidence and the fact is of consequence in determining
the action." Fed.R.Evid. 401. "The court may
exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is
substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the
following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading
the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting
cumulative evidence." Fed.R.Evid. 403. An evidentiary
ruling is reversible only if it also affects a party's
substantial rights. Rogers v. Chicago, 320 F.3d 748,
751 (7th Cir. 2003), overruled on other grounds by Hill
v. Tangherlini, 724 F.3d 965 (7th Cir. 2013).
first objects to the admittance of her job application to the
Veterans Health Administration in 2015. In that application,
she denied having a disability or any physical limitations;
Stegall then underwent a physical examination and the
physician's assistant concluded she had no limiting
conditions. However, Stegall states her permanent physical
disability worsened between 2010 and 2015. Stegall further
claims she failed to list her disability for fear of
discrimination and failing to list her disability in 2015 is
irrelevant to whether she had a disability in 2010. The SSA
disagreed, claiming that the subsequent contradictory medical
records should be explained through testimony and are
relevant to an adverse employment discrimination claim. The
district court found Stegall's subsequent statements
regarding her medical condition relevant as to whether she
was disabled at the time of the claimed discrimination.
one of the issues in this case is whether Stegall was
disabled in 2010, the admissibility of these subsequent
contradictory statements is determined by a standard
relevancy analysis. United States v. Hudson, 843
F.2d 1062, 1064 n.l (7th Cir. 1998). The district court
properly followed the relevance analysis, finding that
subsequent medical evidence is relevant regarding the
question "of a claimant's condition during that
period." Halvorsen v. Heckler, 743 F.2d 1221,
1225 (7th Cir. 1984) (citing Stark v. Weinberger,
497 F.2d 1092, 1097 (7th Cir. 1974) ("It is also clear
that a diagnosis of a claimant's condition may properly
be made even several years after the actual onset of the
impairment.")). Both the application and the medical
professional's opinion that Stegall had no physical
limitations bear on whether Stegall was disabled five years
earlier. The district court properly allowed the evidence.
Stegall claims the district court improperly admitted
"irrelevant and prejudicial" evidence that the SSA
hired an applicant with a disability. Stegall proffers,
"the Supreme Court notes 'the fact that one person
in the protected class has lost out to another person in the
protected class is ... irrelevant'" while
conveniently omitting the remainder of the sentence "so
long as he has lost out because of his age."
O'Connor v. Consol. Coin Caterers Corp., 517 U.S.
308, 312 (1996) (discussing age discrimination bans limiting
the protected class to a certain age) (emphasis in original).
Here, Stegall's claim of irrelevancy works so long as she
lost out because of her disability and no other probable
reason. Stegall's claim rests on discriminatory intent
based on disability and the SSA is entitled to present
relevant evidence ...